“You’d like to say, just vaccinate them and you won’t have any problems,” says Bill Brownsberger, DVM of H&E West Missouri Veterinary Clinic, LLC at Appleton City, Mo. “But, that’s not how it works. No vaccine will work if you’re not taking care of the other essential components.”
Specifically, Brownsberger is talking about preventing and minimizing the impact of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) at the calf-level.
The essential components he mentions include calf nutrition, which goes back to the health and nutrition of the cow, the environment, herd genetics relative to the environment and parasite control.
“They’re all intertwined,” Brownsberger says.
Use cows that don’t milk enough or can’t because of the resources provided to them and calf nutrition is challenged. Run cows in this part of the world—the Fescue Belt between Springfield and Kansas City—without understanding specific seasonal forage challenges or when supplemental protein is required and calves get started on the wrong foot. Likewise, let internal and external parasites rob feed intake and performance from the herd…you get the idea.
With these essential management bases covered, then Brownsberger says vaccine choice and timing matter.
Over the 40 years or so of his practice—he founded the clinic here—Brownsberger has used about every BRD vaccine under the sun. He landed on Titanium 5 + PH-M as the sweet spot between effectiveness and cattle friendliness.
Titanium 5 + PH-M is a modified live virus (MLV) that delivers effective immune response against viruses (BVD types 1 and 2, IBR, PI3 and BRSV) and bacteria (M. haemolytica and P. multocida) most associated with BRD1,2,3,4. It’s labeled for use in cattle as young as 2 months of age.
“There’s good reason to use a vaccine with both the virus and the Pasteurella,” Brownsberger says. “The virus feeds off the bacteria and vice versa. Having both in a single dose makes for good BRD prevention and it’s easy and convenient.”
Brownsberger understands using a vaccine that includes Pasteurella costs his clients more but says they are the type who understand the value of investing in comprehensive animal care.
As for timing, Brownsberger explains, “I like to get a dose in the calves by the time they’re 60-90 days old.” For spring-calving herds, that usually means vaccinating calves in April or May.
If that’s not possible, Brownsberger believes pre-weaning is the next most optimum time. Either way, calves can receive a booster at weaning time. For that matter, his clients who hold cattle over for summer grass vaccinate the cattle a third time.
“If you can get calves vaccinated when they’re little, they seem to respond even better to the re-vaccination,” Brownsberger says. These days, there’s hardly any calves in the clinic’s care that don’t receive Titanium 5 + PH-M.
“Our clients just don’t have much trouble with BRD when we get two rounds of vaccine in them and take care of the other essentials,” Brownsberger says.
Though no one wants a respiratory wreck, Brownsberger explains the real pay-off in preventing BRD comes by way of reducing losses associated with treating cattle with clinical signs and the invisible, sub-clinical cases that are never treated.
“The main cost associated with BRD are calves doing poorly,” Brownsberger says. “And, if they do get sick, they never do get back to where they would have been if they’d remained healthy.”
1Demonstration of the compatibility of components between APHIS product codes 1181.20 (Establishment 213) and G935.04 (Establishment 315) APHIS product code 45B9.20. Study No. 2010-01 Rev. 1.
2Efficacy study for BRSV fraction to demonstrate compatibility of the BRSV component in APHIS product code: 45B9.20 (unlicensed). Study No. 2011-05 Rev. 1.
3Porter, M. 2013. Field safety evaluation of bovine rhinotracheitis-virus diarrhea-parainfluenza3-respiratory syncytial virus vaccine, modified live virus, APHIS product code 1181.20 (establishment 213) in combination with Mannheimia haemolytica-Pasteurella multocida bacterin-toxoid, APHIS product code: G935.04 (establishment 315). Protocol No. 2011-01, Rev. 02.
4Milliken, G. A. 2013. Mannheimia haemolytica efficacy studies demonstrating the absence of excessive interference of Titanium products with the Mannheimia haemolytica-Pasteurella multocida bacterin-toxoid.
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